4 Must-Haves for Fast 5G RF Measurements

2022-08-04  |  6 min read 

Performing 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) RF test cases during 5G device development is no easy task. These tests require setting and modifying many signaling parameters and a deep understanding of the 5G New Radio (NR) standards. New and more complex RF test cases and configurations emerge constantly, lengthening the test process at a time when being first to market is essential for device makers to capture the 5G opportunity. 

Overcoming these challenges is possible with Keysight’s new software solution, the S8714A UXM 5G RF Application. This software has been specifically designed to simplify and accelerate RF measurements with signaling. How? By providing the following key features:
•    Pre-configured 3GPP test cases (so you don’t have to learn the specs)
•    Intelligent signaling (so you don’t need to be a protocol expert)
•    Embedded measurement engine (so you can do the tests more quickly)
•    Intuitive graphical user interface (GUI) (so you can perform the tests in five clicks or less)

1.    Built-in 3GPP Tests

The 3GPP test cases readily available in the S8714A application facilitate the verification of 5G NR non-standalone (NSA) and standalone (SA) devices (Figure 1). The software configures the parameters of many 3GPP RF tests cases automatically and starts the measurements. Check out the full list of in-band transmit and receive tests supported by the solution here.

S8714A 3GPP test case drop-down menu

Figure 1. S8714A 3GPP test case drop-down menu 

2.    Intelligent Signaling

Verifying a 5G device design requires changing many parameters such as bands, bandwidths, and channels. This task typically requires you to have deep knowledge of 5G protocols. Keysight’s new application software eliminates this challenge with intelligent signaling. Entering a new value in the main screen updates these parameters automatically. You can even change multiple parameters simultaneously with a single blind handover. The solution performs paging, expected input power, subscriber identification module (SIM) authentication and other procedures automatically as well as cell power state changes. 

3.    Embedded Measurement Engine

The measurement engine embedded into the application software enables the solution to analyze test results locally, which optimizes test speed by eliminating the need to send the data to an external processor. The S8714A also support parallel testing enabling data analysis during device configuration and data acquisition of the next tests.

S8714A block diagram

Figure 2. S8714A block diagram

4.    Intuitive Graphical User Interface

Four years since it officially started with the release of the first 3GPP standard, the 5G market remains hyper-competitive. Being first to market in this industry is critical for any device maker to capture the 5G opportunity. This pressure is felt throughout the mobile ecosystem, all the way up to device design and development. 
With the intuitive GUI of the S8714A solution, you can quickly configure and modify RF parameters to accelerate the design verification process for your device. You have easy access to frequently-used parameters even while establishing a connection and making measurements. 

You can modify parameters on a live connection to reduce the time it takes to re-configure for additional test conditions, speed up RF verification by viewing the results of multiple measurements on one screen (Figure 3), and accelerate regression tests using the solution’s simple Standards Commands for Programmable Instruments (SCPI).

S8714A main screen

Figure 3. S8714A main screen with multiple measurements and parameters

Optimize RF Verification for 5G Devices

The S8714A UXM 5G RF Application is best suited for 5G engineers needing to perform RF measurements quickly and efficiently. The solution’s built-in 3GPP tests and automatic signaling procedures simplify RF verification, while the embedded measurement engine accelerates your time to test results for different measurements and conditions. 

The S8714A currently supports frequency range 1 (FR1) RF transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) tests and will cover frequency range 2 (FR2) soon. For general-purpose RF testing, the software supports flexible Tx and Rx measurements such as channel power and throughput. Multiple component carriers, data throughput, and Long Term Evolution (LTE) RF measurements will become available soon.

Download the technical overview for more information on the S8714A UXM 5G RF Application.